8 Things I’m Probably Thinking Simultaneously Before Moving to Mumbai For 2 ½ Months

I’ll not deny that I’m a product of Generation Buzzfeed, and I savor making lists just as much as I do reading them. I've compiled a list of musings from my pre-departure brain scramble. 8 Things I’m Probably Thinking Simultaneously Before Moving To Mumbai For 2 ½ Months 1. Have I really been working on this project since September? Yes, yes I have. I knew I had to apply for this fellowship after I went to the 2016 Fellows Symposium and witnessed the most passionate, well researched presentations. They also provided Earthen Jar for everyone in attendance. I was drawn to the fellowship itself because it allowed the recipient to have ultimate creative control on where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do. 2. How did I write all of those essays?? The application process for this fellowship cut open all of my insecurities about my career path and my world views, and from that pulsing mess, I stitched together a project proposal that I believe will make a difference. I spent a month researching, writing, and editing these essays, and I stayed up until 5am in my little London dorm room, where I was studying abroad at the time, perfecting them for the 12am Michigan deadline. 3. What am I even doing?! I’m working with Khula Aasman, a Mumbai-based NGO that conducts expressive arts therapies workshops with various organizations, rural and urban, across the Mumbai area. They work with women in incarceration, women in trafficking, victims of domestic abuse, and children in observation homes. I’ll be working as a facilitator and an administrative aid. 4. I am so excited to finally get to do what I’ve been writing and researching about. 5. Wait. I leave THIS Thursday, May 11. After months of waiting to get back in the US so I could finally apply for my visa, I scoured Google Flights for the best deals and booked my flight for this Thursday. 6. Where am I living? Thanks to the advice of my dear friend and Wallenberg Fellow Meredith, I’m living in the Bandra neighborhood of Mumbai. From the articles I’ve read, Bandra is where life is happening, especially for young professionals in the city, I’m sharing a flat that has a large terrace and twinkly lights. 7. I’m actually going to work in India this summer. It doesn’t exactly seem real yet. I’m trying to remain calm and normalize everything that is happening around me. I must resist the exoticism so many Americans associate with living abroad. I’m not going to be Eat, Pray, Loving. I’m going to be Eat, Work, Listening and I couldn’t be more excited to begin this adventure. 8. I'm so profoundly grateful to have the opportunity to do what I love every day.

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About Jo Ellen Pellman

Jo Ellen is a junior from Cincinnati, Ohio majoring in Musical Theatre and minoring in Creative Writing. Jo Ellen will be spending two months in Mumbai volunteering for Khula Aasman, a non-profit organization dedicated to blending expressive arts therapies with social change. With the Khula Aasman team, she will be facilitating creative theatre workshops with various communities across Mumbai, including women in incarceration and women in trafficking. Art is a great healer- it offers the opportunity to transcend the boundaries of class, religion, caste and gender. Jo Ellen’s final project will focus on the immediate emotional effects of the workshops on the participants and what forms of art therapy resonated with them the most. Her research will provide Khula Aasman with a correlation between the most effective arts therapy methods for the demographics that they serve in order to tailor workshops to best meet the needs of the Mumbai community.

2 thoughts on “8 Things I’m Probably Thinking Simultaneously Before Moving to Mumbai For 2 ½ Months

  1. Absolutely awesome, Jo Ellen! I know our whole family is proud of you. We cannot wait to hear about your amazing experience! My dad will especially love to hear the stories. Have a wonderful time and keep up the amazing work!

    Your cousin,


  2. (As a fellow Buzzfeeder), I LOVE the list. I know it can be extremely difficult to try and synthesize all of your thoughts, but I think you did a wonderful job describing how it can feel on this wild SiSA roller coaster ride. I am so excited for all that you are going to experience and the work that you will be taking part in. Thank you in advance for letting us follow along with you 🙂

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